If you need to replace the heating or air conditioning system in your home, opting to install a heat pump can be one of the smartest choices you could make. The popularity of heat pumps has skyrocketed in recent years. One major reason for this is that heat pump technology has come a long way and allowed modern units to work extremely effectively in freezing cold temperatures. Heat pumps also have many advantages over traditional HVAC units and can provide many benefits.

Cost-Effective Heating and Cooling in One Device

One of the main advantages that heat pumps have over other central HVAC units is that they are the only type of unit capable of providing both heating and cooling. This means you’ll only need to worry about installing, maintaining, and repairing one unit instead of two as you would if you had a furnace and a traditional AC. The up-front cost to purchase and install a heat pump is usually somewhat more than for a furnace or traditional air conditioner. Nonetheless, a heat pump will still be less expensive and much more cost effective overall.

High Energy Efficiency

Another major benefit of having a heat pump is that it will almost always be the most energy-efficient and, therefore, the most cost-effective option for heating your home. Heat pumps are typically at least two and a half to three times more energy efficient than gas furnaces or other types of electric heating. While the energy efficiency of a heat pump does decrease in extreme cold, most cold-climate units can continue working effectively and fairly efficiently in temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, cold-climate heat pump systems also require some type of auxiliary or backup heat source. In most systems, this auxiliary heat source is electric heat strips that are installed inside the home. These heat strips will automatically come on any time it is too cold for the heat pump to work and also every time the unit needs to switch over to its defrost cycle. These heat strips use around three times as much power as the heat pump. This means that the energy efficiency of the heating system will greatly decrease if the heat strips need to run too often. That said, even if the heat strips are on more than half the time, your heating costs will still typically be quite a bit lower than they would with any other type of heating.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that heating a home in Idaho with a heat pump will save approximately 21% on heating costs compared to other heating options. However, your potential savings could be far greater depending on the type of heat pump you choose and its energy efficiency ratings.

Environmentally Friendly

Another major advantage of heat pumps over other heating options is that they are more environmentally friendly and will help you reduce your carbon footprint. The fact that heat pumps heat so efficiently means they use less energy. Of course, exactly how much a heat pump will diminish your carbon footprint depends on how your electricity is generated. If your electricity is mostly generated using renewable sources like wind and solar or non-carbon sources like nuclear and hydroelectric, your carbon footprint won’t be nearly as great to begin with.

Another factor that sets heat pumps apart from gas furnaces is that gas furnaces directly produce carbon emissions. Studies have shown that a heat pump will reduce your home’s carbon emissions by anywhere from 15% to 75% compared to heating with a gas furnace.

Maintain a More Consistent Temperature

Many modern heat pumps, like two-stage and variable-speed units, are designed to essentially run constantly. One issue with traditional HVAC systems is that they cycle on and off multiple times every hour and usually don’t run for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time. This tends to lead to the temperature fluctuating from hotter to colder or vice versa. The short heating or cooling cycles also often cause cold and hot spots in various rooms or parts of the home. This is because the system won’t run long enough to fully cool or heat every part of the house to the same temperature.

This is yet another area where some heat pumps have a major advantage because they will maintain a consistent temperature and keep the entire home more comfortable. Two-stage and variable-speed heat pumps can heat or cool the home quite quickly when needed. Once the desired temperature is reached, they can then slow down and reduce how much heating or cooling they produce. They do this to maintain the temperature and prevent it from fluctuating.

Tax Credits and Rebates

The U.S. Department of Energy and many local utility companies are heavily encouraging homeowners to switch to heat pumps since they are so much more energy efficient than traditional HVAC units. As part of this push, there are great tax credits and rebates available for homeowners who install new energy-efficient heat pumps.

The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act established a new tax credit program that is meant to reward homeowners who install a new HVAC unit that meets specific energy-efficiency requirements. As part of this program, you will automatically be eligible for a tax credit of 30% of the cost to purchase and install a new ENERGY STAR-certified heat pump worth up to $2,000. This heat pump tax credit can obviously go a long way toward offsetting the slightly higher cost of a heat pump.

The Inflation Reduction Act also established a new state rebate program for low- and middle-income families that can also save you even more on a new heat pump. Families earning under 80% of the median income in their area can receive a rebate of up to $8,000 on a new heat pump installation. Families that earn between 80% and 150% of their area’s median income are eligible for a $4,000 rebate. In Idaho, these rebates will be paid out by the Office of Energy and Mineral Resources. However, this rebate program is not yet active, and the rebates won’t likely be available until later in 2024.

Many utility providers like Idaho Power also offer rebates and incentives when you switch from some other type of heating to a heat pump. If you replace an oil or propane furnace or any type of electric heating system with a heat pump, Idaho Power currently provides an $800 incentive.

With four decades of experience, Perfect, Plumbing Heating & Air is the top choice for heat pump installation in Boise and the Treasure Valley area. We offer a range of energy-efficient heat pumps from trusted brands like Bryant, and our technicians repair and service all heat pump makes and models. We also install, repair, and service furnaces, central air conditioners, and ductless mini-splits. We have a team of licensed, expert plumbers as well, and they’re ready to assist with your plumbing, drain, and gas line repair and installation needs. If you’re considering a heat pump for your home, contact us for a consultation and we’ll help you choose the unit that best meets your family’s heating and cooling needs.

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